Listen to Owen’s composition recorded by the Australian Youth Orchestra.

Listen to Owen’s original composition submitted with his entry.

Owen Bloomfield (Age 20, NSW)

FANFARE: Fanfare to the Formidable

Owen grew up in Orange NSW, where he started learning trumpet and piano, and playing in ensembles. At age 12, he was extremely fortunate to start music lessons with Richard Gill, which continued until Richard’s tragic passing 4 years later. Meanwhile, he started focussing more on percussion, commencing lessons with Richard Miller the ex-principal timpanist of the SSO who had retired to Bathurst.

The next year, Owen moved away from family to Sydney to attend the Conservatorium High School for year 11 and 12, graduating in 2020. There he learned percussion with Joshua Hill and composition with Jack Symonds. Owen’s HSC Music 2 performances were nominated for Encore, and his Extension Music composition, a concerto for marimba with chamber orchestra, was selected.

Owen then started a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium, studying percussion with Shaun Trubiano. During his studies he performed in many ensembles, including as timpanist with the Australian Youth Orchestra and as principal percussionist with the Sydney Youth Orchestra.

Owen recently successfully auditioned on percussion for Manhattan School of Music, where he will commence his studies in September 2022. He will be the first Australian percussionist to study there since his teacher Shaun.

Composition Inspiration

The idea to enter the fanfare competition came when I was playing timpani in the AYO recording ensemble in February for the previous year’s winners. Seeing how different composers approached the very restricted timeframe was really interesting, and made me want to explore what I would do within the brief.

My main motivation in writing this fanfare was to make something that would be quite challenging but hopefully rewarding for the group to play. After having this inside view of the ensemble, I wanted to make a piece which more fully took advantage of the extraordinary skillsets which were on offer within the group.

This line of thinking lead me to adopt a compositional language more focussed around extreme gestures, and generally pushing things to their limits. I started with 2 main ideas; the ‘violent’ opening string entries, and the gradual crescendo with an uneven pulse pushing through. I then felt the piece needed a resolution to all this tension building, so I introduced the final more typical fanfare-like section, finally letting the brass ‘take over’.

Given the dark tone of the opening I started wondering what this fanfare would hypothetically be announcing, hence the name Fanfare to the Formidable.